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Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Program
The Minnesota Education and Training Voucher Program (ETV) helps current and former foster care and adoptive youth attend colleges, universities, vocational or technical programs. Eligible students can receive up to $5,000 per school year to pay for tuition, fees, books, housing, transportation and other school-related costs and living expenses. ETV funds are to complement the student’s own efforts to secure financial assistance to attend post-secondary school. The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) administers the program, described in this brochure.
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Checking eligibility for ETV
Do I qualify?
First, you need to answer “yes’ to both of these questions:
• Will you be under 21 at the time of the application deadline?
• Have you been accepted into an accredited post-secondary institution of higher education?
If your answer is “yes” to both, also need to be able to answer “yes” to at least one of the following:
• Were you in foster care on or after your 16th birthday, and continue to be in foster care up to or beyond your 18th birthday? or
• Were you adopted from foster care after your 16th birthday? or.
• Were you in foster care on or after your 16th birthday when a relative/kin accepted a transfer of permanent legal and physical custody? or.
• Were you under state guardianship on your 18th birthday (also known as “state wards”)?
Finally, can you answer “yes” to one of these three questions about where you live:
• Do you live in a Minnesota county or on an American Indian reservation?
• Were you in a foster care placement in Minnesota through an Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) and continue to live in Minnesota?
• If you were in a foster care placement in another state, did you move to Minnesota to live and go to school?
Suppose I live in another state?
If you received an ETV in another state, you must continue to apply to that state for an ETV even if you have moved to Minnesota. If you left a foster care placement in Minnesota and have since moved to another state but have not received an ETV from Minnesota, you should apply in the state where you now live. Go to the National Resource Center’s state page to find the contact person in that state.
All eligible students should apply to the Minnesota ETV program.
Where do I get an application form?
Eligible students must complete an ETV online application each year they need funds for post-secondary school. Applications are reviewed for funds if they are submitted during one of the application deadline dates and if the application is complete.
A complete application is the application, a finalized budget and all the required supporting documents. Only the required documents should be attached to the application. Students should start the application after they obtained the supporting documents, answered the essay questions and developed their budget.
• July 1 – September 30 for students starting school in the fall semester, and
• January 1 – January 31 for students starting school in the spring semester.
Other supporting documents?
First-time applicants must submit a:
• Post-secondary school acceptance letter
• Class schedule
• Financial aid award letter
Renewal applicants must submit:
• A post-secondary school acceptance letter, if you changed schools since your last ETV application
• Class schedule
• A transcript showing courses taken and grades obtained
• A financial aid award letter.
First-time applicants must answer these questions: What are your future educational and career goals? What is your field of study and why have you chosen it? Why does it interest you?
Renewing applicants must answer these questions: What are your future educational and career goals? In what ways did you progress toward meeting those goals during the last school year? What are your accomplishments and what gives you satisfaction about them? How can the ETV program provide meaningful support for you in your educational achievements?
Develop a budget
• The ETV Program Expense Guidelines (PDF) document contains detailed information on what ETV funds can pay for and the documentation needed for payment.
Any other forms?
County or tribal social services staff and other agency staff can use the Minnesota Eligibility Verification form (PDF) to verify foster care placements or state ward status for students applying for post-secondary schools.
Review the Minnesota Education and Training Voucher Program Notice of Privacy Practice to complete the online application.
Who can answer my questions about the ETV application process?
Email questions to DHS.ETVcoordinator@state.mn.us or call 651-431-4663.
All ETV recipients must complete an orientation before using their ETV funds. ETV recipients will receive information on the orientation sessions with their ETV award letter.
The Minnesota Office of Higher Education’s Preparing for College website and College Prep Timeline are both helpful guides. SAT Fee Waivers (PDF) are available for low-income, college-bound high school students who meet the eligibility guidelines.
Go to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education Choosing a College website for information about selecting, applying and exploring post-secondary schools options. Get more information by reviewing the Choosing a College Publication.
The Minnesota Office of Higher Education Paying for College website offers information about financial aid, grants, scholarships, saving for college, education tax benefits, student loans and other aid options.
What’s a FAFSA?
The first step in applying for financial aid is to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA application is used to apply for federal student grants, work-study aid, and loans. You may also use this application to apply for most state and some private aid. These Tips for Completing the FAFSA are provided by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.
Go to a Minnesota College Goal workshop for help in completing the FAFSA and get information on paying for post-secondary school.
What is the difference between ‘dependent’ and ‘independent status?
All applicants for financial aid are categorized as either dependent or independent. When applying, you will be considered independent if you are a state ward or in foster care at age 13 or older, and you will not have to submit financial information about your family.
What is a ‘tuition waiver’?
If you are a Minnesota state ward and in an undergraduate program and under age 21, you may attend post-secondary schools tuition free. Contact the school you plan to attend and ask about tuition waivers. You are required to provide court papers confirming your state ward status to the school. State ward means that your parents’ rights were ended by the court.
Where can I learn about scholarships in Minnesota?
• The College of St. Scholastica offers scholarships including CSSYes, a full-tuition package for eligible students; special scholarships for qualified women pursing information technology; and scholarships to full-time junior or seniors from Duluth, Proctor, Hermantown, or one of the surrounding townships, who are pursuing degrees in accounting, education, management, nursing, psychology or social work.
• Minnesota College Goal is a statewide volunteer program that provides free information and assistance to students and families who are applying for financial aid for post secondary education Minnesota.
• Social work students who are interested in pursuing a career in public child protection/child welfare may be eligible for grant money for tuition and other student-related feeds through the Child Welfare Scholar Program. The following schools offer the program. Contact the school to get more information on the program and the application process. Minnesota schools that have a program include Moorhead State University, Minnesota State University Mankato, St. Cloud State, Winona State, and Metropolitan State.
• MN TRiO Scholarships: Three $1,000 scholarships are awarded annually to eligible TRiO participants in Minnesota.
• Page Education Foundation Grants: For students of color graduating from a Minnesota high school.
• Pohlad Scholars Program: Up to 75 scholarships of $2,000 will be awarded to students demonstrating financial need to attend post-secondary education who are residents of the Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the counties of: Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington.
• Power of You covers the cost of tuition and fees for two years, or up to 72 credits, at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC), Saint Paul College or Metropolitan State University for youth graduating from a Minneapolis or Saint Paul public high school.
Are there scholarships for students in foster care or adopted from foster care?
• Foster Care to Success offers scholarships to youth who have spent one year or more in out-of-home placement. Many Minnesota youth have been scholarship recipients.
• Fostering a Future: Students adopted from foster care after age 13.
• UMPS CARE Charities All Stars: Students adopted from U.S. foster care at age 12 or older.
• TRiO: Provides students with greater access to post-secondary education.
• TRiO Student Support Services (SSS) serves qualifying students already attending a college. The website provides a list of schools offering SSS.
Send an e-mail to DHS.ETVcoordinator@state.mn.us or call (651) 431-4663.
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